Rural Catch-Up At The Ross Cattle Sales

Published date08 March 2023
What sized crowd would come? Would the stock sell

Gradually folk arrived, milling about chatting. One farmer turned up off ering the bright bunch of ragwort that covered the deck of his ute, others came on four wheelers, most came in farm vehicles. Checked shirts and hats were the order of the day. Not many said they were there to buy, but all admitted it was a great chance to catch up with fellow farming friends.

Everyone was feeling sad, and talking about the loss of one of their number, Arthur Thomson, who died "doing what he loved - mustering cattle" at the Mikonui River, south of Ross, late last year.

Arthur, a community stalwart, was integral to the running of the Ross yards as both an administrator and organiser of the drovers, and sometimes as a drover himself. "He hasn't really been replaced yet," said Robbie.

"He was a wonderful man, great with cattle and a great supporter of South Westland rugby with a special interest in JAB." On offer at the sale were 30 donated calves from farms between Franz Josef and Westport, all brought to the yards at no cost, by local cartage firms. Proceeds from the sale of these specially nurtured calves is given annually to IHC (Canterbury's branch donated 400 calves this season).

Also up for grabs were several 18-month store cattle.

From the IHC collection two speckled heifers sold for $190, with $480, the top price paid. The 18-monthers fetched between $750 and $980. And everything sold.

Much larger cattle sales happen in March and April. On Monday, March 27 between 240 and 280 cattle are expected at Ross and two days later Robbie is counting on between 900 and 1000 cattle at the Haast sale. On Thursday, April 6 it is Whataroa's turn with between 500 and 600 cattle expected to be off ered.

ƒÞ Jane Wells Peter Dennehy, left, chats to retired driver Barry Thomson, and Bernie Ellis. Peter had just stopped in at the sale on his way home to his farm in Whataroa. He'd just returned from a two day cutting horse clinic, with the Central South Horse Club near Oamaru. Phil Webb was the Australian trainer teaching the budding cutters how to get quarter horses to work eff ectively with cattle on a loose rein. And the finer points of competing in a cutting show. "I believe on horseback is still the best way to work with cattle and dogs. And a well bred cow horse helps." Barry Thomson knows everyone, having been a stock driver for more than 40 years. Bernie was a farmer in the Waitaha Valley, and a contractor but now he's...

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